by Marty Hayes, J.D.
I started writing this month’s message on the day that I heard Rush Limbaugh lost his battle with lung cancer. As an avid listener, I am, of course, saddened but not surprised by his passing. He was open about his fight and as he dealt with it, we all saw an example of his graciousness. I remember the first time I heard him. I was driving from Dallas to Houston to teach a self-defense seminar. I listened to one program and I was hooked. R.I.P, Rush, you were an example to all of us.
I find a little reflection on how fragile life is to be in order. Rush was only 70 years old, four years older than I am and, of course, many readers here are older than 70. We do not know what the future holds for any of us and any of us could go at any time. I treat each and every day like it might be my last, because it just might. If I do not wake tomorrow, then I hope not to have left things outside the norm of human life undone for my wife, family and/or friends to try to finish.
I take as my example my father, who in his later years came to live with Gila and me because he had Parkinson’s disease and was unable to take care of himself. He had decided to move into an assisted living home, and I objected. He and I had an awesome two years together, until one day, while he was out working on the range on our tractor, he had a massive stroke. He passed away a few days later. I like to say he basically had the same philosophy as I do. I know from my conversations with him, he lived each day as fully as he could and passed with no regrets. As the saying goes, “He died with his boots on.”
My reflections lead me to my next topic – the future of the Network. What would happen to the Network if either Gila or I were to pass suddenly? Gila runs day to day operations, and I think it would be extremely difficult to replace her. Shutting the doors of the Network is not an option, Not only do 19,000+ members rely upon us to be there if they need us, but a half a dozen good people also rely upon the Network for their livelihoods. I fully admit it would be easy to replace me, and I designed my job that way. I do a lot of stuff, of course, but I am replaceable by someone with a law degree and an ability to write and do legal research, who also has a passion for our cause. But still, let’s ponder what is in store for the Network in the long run.
When we formed the Network, we set it up as a for-profit corporation, with equal shares of corporate stock owned by Gila, Vincent Shuck and me. We did it that way for a couple really valid reasons. First, I had seen first-hand what can happen to a membership organization if the wrong people are elected to the board of directors and either mismanage or allow mismanagement of the organization. I believe there is a big gun rights organization suffering this fate at the moment. I had seen boards of directors ruin other organizations, too, so when founding the Network, I opted to create a private organization, with a firm hand on the rudder. That seemed like the best way to go. I believed that the people making decisions about the organization needed, ultimately, to bear responsibility for those decisions, a factor I’d seen as lacking in other organizations that had failed.
At the same time, I also believed that the long-term future of the Network would be best served if it was a member-owned company, with the member/shareholders hiring a small executive team to run the organization. Of course, the shareholders would be financially responsible for the success of the Network. To transition to this type of organization, Gila, Vincent and I would need to sell our shares of the Network to our members. We are going through the legal steps to set this up. The process is going to take the better part of a year to get all the ducks in a row, and until we get further along in the process, I really cannot give any particulars, nor make any promises as to rate of return to investors, benefits to shareholders, etc. I tell you this, just to assure you that we do have the long-term viability and success of the Network at the forefront of our minds.
Back on the Radio!
We quit our overt outreach for new members when we first got involved fighting with the WA Insurance Commissioner. We did not know how that was going to turn out, or what resources it would take to fight it. While those two questions are still pertinent, we have decided to go back into a little radio advertising. First, we are back on Gun Talk Radio with Tom Gresham, starting in March. Today I taped a new radio advertisement and I’m scheduled for a guest spot on Gun Talk the first Sunday of March. More info at https://www.guntalk.com/gun-talk-radio .
I was sitting at my Dillon 1050 one Sunday in January, when a radio program came on which I felt would be a really good fit for the Network. As a result in March, we will start sponsoring a new-to-us radio program, Frontlines of Freedom, with Lt. Col. (Ret.) Denny Gillem. Col. Gillem is a Vietnam veteran who later served in Germany, then the US Readiness Command as a Mideast war planner. I enjoyed listening to the program (although I am not a veteran), especially the segment on armed citizens that is part of their two hour show. If you can find Frontlines of Freedom on a local station, try to tune in, and if nothing else, you can listen to archived broadcasts on their website at https://frontlinesoffreedom.com/category/podcast/ .
Are you a Prepper?
If you are a prepper and if you live in Texas, you are probably very thankful that you prepared in advance for a catastrophe. I must admit, both Gila and I could be considered preppers, although not to an extreme extent. We do have our house set up so we can walk out to the power pole and disconnect the house from the power grid and then plug in the generator and light up the house. We’d have enough power to run our mini-split heat pump but, we likely would turn off the electric heat, just light the wood stove and keep it burning. We enjoy a fire in the evenings, and occasionally on a weekend morning I will get up early and go start a fire and warm the house up before Gila gets up. There’s nothing nicer than a warm fire greeting a person in the morning.
We are also on a well, so if the power is out, we have no running water without the generator to run the well pump. We would not run the generator full-time, but only long enough to take a quick shower and run some water in some extra pots. I also recently installed a propane-fired cook top, so we can boil water and cook if we needed to and, of course, there are oil-burning lamps, battery-powered lights and a good supply of candles for lighting.
The Network is basically set up the same way probably because the office building is our former home on the Firearms Academy of Seattle range. That location sees five people report for work every day at the Network and the same emergency planning applies for outages there – turn off the connection to the electrical grid, fire up the 5,000 watt generator and continue running the Network on auxiliary power. It is impossible to work without electricity, considering all the computers, phones, printers, Wi Fi and lighting needed to run a business, so we’ve had these provisions in place for many years.
We have never had a problem up here in WA State like our 1200+ Network members in Texas are going through. I sure hope that by the time this is published the crisis will be over, but I know a lot of the people there will still be dealing with the aftermath. We do get power outages here occasionally, usually from windstorms following heavy rains or ice storms. The longest outage I remember happened many years ago and lasted 3-4 days, which was miserable because we were NOT prepared. Our preparation for handling these emergencies started after that.
For our Texas friends, please know that we are thinking of you and know what you are going through, and hope you come out of this okay.
Small Update on Insurance Commissioner Fight
I know members, especially members in WA state, want to know what is going on. As you know, we lost the fight with the Office of Insurance Commissioner at the administrative level, but that was only the first step to fight what we believe is a grossly misapplied definition of insurance by the Insurance Commissioner. They first fined us $200,000 for selling insurance without a license, but the last thing that occurred was a reduction in the fine to $50,000. That was much appreciated, by the way, but of course we do not think even the $50K fine is warranted. We pursued our right to appeal this administrative ruling. We filed a request in our local court for a stay of the fine until we get a ruling from the judge. The judge agreed, so we did not have to pay that fine right away.
We are beginning the discovery process of the civil court action and this is not a quick process. We have the anti-gun Attorney General defending the anti-gun Insurance Commissioner, so we expect a drawn-out fight, but fight we will! Some have asked, “Why not just pay the fine and end the bleeding?” We won’t, because that would leave our Washington friends unable to enroll in the Network (current members can continue to renew, by the way). I started the Network because I wanted our friends and my students to have the ability to fight an unmeritorious prosecution or civil suit. How would it look if I just decided to roll over out of financial considerations? Not me! Vincent and Gila are in total agreement.
I found out today that we just received a $500 donation to fight the fight from a couple who hail from southwestern Washington. That is so much appreciated, thank you. It is for these people and the rest of the members of the Network that we continue the fight.
To read more of this month's journal, please click here.